Deep Learning Technology: Sebastian Arnold, Betty van Aken, Paul Grundmann, Felix A. Gers and Alexander Löser. Learning Contextualized Document Representations for Healthcare Answer Retrieval. The Web Conference 2020 (WWW'20)
Funded by The Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy; Grant: 01MD19013D, Smart-MD Project, Digital Technologies
Diagnosis is confirmed by direct inspection using laryngoscopy, although this may provoke airway spasm. If epiglottitis is suspected, attempts to visualise the epiglottis using a tongue depressor are strongly discouraged for this reason; therefore, diagnosis is made on basis of direct fibreoptic laryngoscopy carried out in controlled environment like an operating room. Imaging is rarely useful, and treatment should not be delayed for this test to be carried out.
The epiglottis and arytenoids are cherry-red and swollen. The most likely differential diagnostic candidates are croup, peritonsillar abscess, and retropharyngeal abscess.
On lateral C-spine X-ray, the thumbprint sign describes a swollen, enlarged epiglottis; usually with dilated hypopharynx and normal subglottic structures.
On CT imaging, the "halloween sign" describe a normal thickness epiglottis. It can safely exclude the acute epiglottitis. Furthermore, CT imaging can help to diagnose other conditions such as peritonsillar abscess or retropharyngeal abscess which had similar clinical features.
An oral whole cell nontypeable Haemophilus influenzae vaccine may protect against the disease, but "the evidence is mixed".
The most commonly used system for classifying the severity of croup is the Westley score. It is primarily used for research purposes rather than in clinical practice. It is the sum of points assigned for five factors: level of consciousness, cyanosis, stridor, air entry, and retractions. The points given for each factor is listed in the adjacent table, and the final score ranges from 0 to 17.
- A total score of ≤ 2 indicates "mild" croup. The characteristic barking cough and hoarseness may be present, but there is no stridor at rest.
- A total score of 3–5 is classified as "moderate" croup. It presents with easily heard stridor, but with few other signs.
- A total score of 6–11 is "severe" croup. It also presents with obvious stridor, but also features marked chest wall indrawing.
- A total score of ≥ 12 indicates impending respiratory failure. The barking cough and stridor may no longer be prominent at this stage.
85% of children presenting to the emergency department have mild disease; severe croup is rare (<1%).
Many cases of croup have been prevented by immunization for influenza and diphtheria. At one time, croup referred to a diphtherial disease, but with vaccination, diphtheria is now rare in the developed world.
The Hib vaccine is very effective at preventing the disease.
In household contacts of any unvaccinated child infected with H. influenzae, rifampicin is used as prophylaxis.
A physical examination will often reveal decreased intensity of breath sounds, wheezing, rhonchi, and prolonged expiration. Most physicians rely on the presence of a persistent dry or wet cough as evidence of bronchitis.
A variety of tests may be performed in patients presenting with cough and shortness of breath:
- A chest X-ray is useful to exclude pneumonia which is more common in those with a fever, fast heart rate, fast respiratory rate, or who are old.
- A sputum sample showing neutrophil granulocytes (inflammatory white blood cells) and culture showing that has pathogenic microorganisms such as "Streptococcus" species.
- A blood test would indicate inflammation (as indicated by a raised white blood cell count and elevated C-reactive protein).
Antibiotics do not help the many lower respiratory infections which are caused by parasites or viruses. While acute bronchitis often does not require antibiotic therapy, antibiotics can be given to patients with acute exacerbations of chronic bronchitis. The indications for treatment are increased dyspnoea, and an increase in the volume or purulence of the sputum. The treatment of bacterial pneumonia is selected by considering the age of the patient, the severity of the illness and the presence of underlying disease. Amoxicillin and doxycycline are suitable for many of the lower respiratory tract infections seen in general practice.
Vaccination helps prevent bronchopneumonia, mostly against influenza viruses, adenoviruses, measles, rubella, streptococcus pneumoniae, haemophilus influenzae, diphtheria, bacillus anthracis, chickenpox, and bordetella pertussis.
There is low or very-low quality evidence that probiotics may be better than placebo in preventing acute URTIs. Vaccination against influenza viruses, adenoviruses, measles, rubella, "Streptococcus pneumoniae", "Haemophilus influenzae", diphtheria, "Bacillus anthracis", and "Bordetella pertussis" may prevent them from infecting the URT or reduce the severity of the infection.
The Centers for Disease Control describe protocol for treating sinusitis while at the same time discouraging overuse of antibiotics:
- Target likely organisms with first-line drugs: Amoxicillin, Amoxicillin/Clavulanate
- Use shortest effective course: Should see improvement in 2–3 days. Continue treatment for 7 days after symptoms improve or resolve (usually a 10–14 day course).
- Consider imaging studies in recurrent or unclear cases: some sinus involvement is frequent early in the course of uncomplicated viral URI
Treatment comprises symptomatic support usually via analgesics for headache, sore throat and muscle aches. Moderate exercise in sedentary subjects with naturally acquired URTI probably does not alter the overall severity and duration of the illness. No randomized trials have been conducted to ascertain benefits of increasing fluid intake.
It is hard to differentiate a viral and a bacterial cause of a sore throat based on symptoms alone. Thus often a throat swab is done to rule out a bacterial cause.
The modified Centor criteria may be used to determine the management of people with pharyngitis. Based on 5 clinical criteria, it indicates the probability of a streptococcal infection.
One point is given for each of the criteria:
- Absence of a cough
- Swollen and tender cervical lymph nodes
- Temperature >
- Tonsillar exudate or swelling
- Age less than 15 (a point is subtracted if age >44)
The McIsaac criteria adds to the Centor:
- Age less than 15: add one point
- Age greater than 45: subtract one point
The Infectious Disease Society of America however recommends against empirical treatment and considers antibiotics only appropriate following positive testing. Testing is not needed in children under three as both group A strep and rheumatic fever are rare, except if they have a sibling with the disease.
Polymerase chain reaction (PCR) assays have been proven to be more sensitive than either LAT or culture tests, and highly specific. However, PCR assays have not yet become routine in clinical settings. Countercurrent immunoelectrophoresis has been shown to be an effective research diagnostic method, but has been largely supplanted by PCR.
The latex particle agglutination test (LAT) is a more sensitive method to detect "H. influenzae" than is culture. Because the method relies on antigen rather than viable bacteria, the results are not disrupted by prior antibiotic use. It also has the added benefit of being much quicker than culture methods. However, antibiotic sensitivity testing is not possible with LAT alone, so a parallel culture is necessary.
Diagnosis is typically based on a person's signs and symptoms. The color of the sputum does not indicate if the infection is viral or bacterial. Determining the underlying organism is typically not needed. Other causes of similar symptoms include asthma, pneumonia, bronchiolitis, bronchiectasis, and COPD. A chest X-ray may be useful to detect pneumonia.
Another common sign of bronchitis is a cough which lasts ten days to three weeks. If the cough lasts a month or a year it may be chronic bronchitis. In addition to having a cough a fever may be present. Acute bronchitis is normally caused by a viral infection. Typically these infections are rhinovirus, para influenza, or influenza. No specific testing is normally needed to diagnose acute bronchitis.
The diagnostic criteria for acute exacerbation of COPD generally include a production of sputum that is purulent and may be thicker than usual, but without evidence of pneumonia (which involves mainly the alveoli rather than the bronchi). Also, diagnostic criteria may include an increase in frequency and severity of coughing, as well as increased shortness of breath.
A chest X-ray is usually performed on people with fever and, especially, hemoptysis (blood in the sputum), to rule out pneumonia and get information on the severity of the exacerbation. Hemoptysis may also indicate other, potentially fatal, medical conditions.
A history of exposure to potential causes and evaluation of symptoms may help in revealing the cause the exacerbation, which helps in choosing the best treatment. A sputum culture can specify which strain is causing a bacterial AECB. An early morning sample is preferred.
E-nose showed the ability to smell the cause of the exacerbation.
The definition of a COPD exacerbation is commonly described as "lost in translation," meaning that there is no universally accepted standard with regard to defining an acute exacerbation of COPD. Many organizations consider it a priority to create such a standard, as it would be a major step forward in the diagnosis and quality of treatment of COPD.
Some signs and symptoms indicate the need for early referral. These include
- Difficulty swallowing
- Vocal stridor
- Ear pain
- Recent weight loss
- History of smoking
- Current or recent radiotherapy treatment (in the neck region)
- Recent neck surgery or surgery involving endotracheal tubing
- Person is a professional voice user (teacher, singer, actor, call center worker, and so on)
Prevention is by not smoking and avoiding other lung irritants. Frequent hand washing may also be protective. Treatment of acute bronchitis typically involves rest, paracetamol (acetaminophen), and NSAIDs to help with the fever. Cough medicine has little support for its use and is not recommended in children less than six years of age. There is tentative evidence that salbutamol may be useful in those with wheezing; however, it may result in nervousness and tremors. Antibiotics should generally not be used. An exception is when acute bronchitis is due to pertussis. Tentative evidence supports honey and pelargonium to help with symptoms. Getting plenty of rest and fluids is also often recommended.
Acute exacerbations can be partially prevented. Some infections can be prevented by vaccination against pathogens such as influenza and "Streptococcus pneumoniae". Regular medication use can prevent some COPD exacerbations; long acting beta-adrenoceptor agonists (LABAs), long-acting anticholinergics, inhaled corticosteroids and low-dose theophylline have all been shown to reduce the frequency of COPD exacerbations. Other methods of prevention include:
- Smoking cessation and avoiding dust, passive smoking, and other inhaled irritants
- Yearly influenza and 5-year pneumococcal vaccinations
- Regular exercise, appropriate rest, and healthy nutrition
- Avoiding people currently infected with e.g. cold and influenza
- Maintaining good fluid intake and humidifying the home, in order to help reduce the formation of thick sputum and chest congestion.
Long-term antibiotics, while they decrease rates of infection during treatment, have an unknown effect on long-term outcomes such as hearing loss. This method of prevention has been associated with emergence of antibiotic-resistant otitic bacteria. They are thus not recommended.
Pneumococcal conjugate vaccines (PCV) in early infancy, decreases the risk of acute otitis media in healthy infants. PCV is recommended for all children, and, if implemented broadly, PCV would have a significant public health benefit. Influenza vaccine is recommended annually for all children. PCV does not appear to decrease the risk of otitis media when given to high-risk infants or for older children who have previously experienced otitis media.
Risk factors such as season, allergy predisposition and presence of older siblings are known to be determinants of recurrent otitis media and persistent middle-ear effusions (MEE). History of recurrence, environmental exposure to tobacco smoke, use of daycare, and lack of breastfeeding have all been associated with increased risk of development, recurrence, and persistent MEE. Thus, cessation of smoking in the home should be encouraged, daycare attendance should be avoided or daycare facilities with the fewest attendees should be recommended, and breastfeeding should be promoted.
There is some evidence that breastfeeding for the first year of life is associated with a reduction in the number and duration of OM infections. Pacifier use, on the other hand, has been associated with more frequent episodes of AOM.
Evidence does not support zinc supplementation as an effort to reduce otitis rates except maybe in those with severe malnutrition such as marasmus.
Acute pharyngitis is the most common cause of a sore throat and, together with cough, it is diagnosed in more than 1.9 million people a year in the United States.
The diagnosis of a throat irritation include a physical exam and throat culture.
Treatment is often supportive in nature, and depends on the severity and type of laryngitis (acute or chronic). General measures to relieve symptoms of laryngitis include behaviour modification, hydration and humidification.
Vocal hygiene (care of the voice) is very important to relieve symptoms of laryngitis. Vocal hygiene involves measures such as
- Resting the voice
- Drinking sufficient amounts of water
- Reducing caffeine and alcohol intake
- Stopping smoking
- Limiting throat clearing
Voice hygiene programs are given by speech-language pathologists. These programs typically include the following components:
- Addressing amount and type of voice use
- Reducing behaviours that are damaging to the vocal folds
- Increasing hydration
- Adjusting lifestyle (for example, limiting caffeine and managing medical conditions)
Adhesive otitis media occurs when a thin retracted ear drum becomes sucked into the middle-ear space and stuck (i.e., adherent) to the ossicles and other bones of the middle ear.
The majority of cases of throat irritation usually go away without any treatment. There is no real treatment for throat irritation from a virus. If you have difficulty swallowing then one should drink liquids, suck on lozenges, ice chips or mix salt with warm water to gargle. Bacterial infections generally require antibiotics.
Home remedies for throat irritation include gargling with warm water twice a day, sipping honey and lemon mixture or sucking on medicated lozenges. If the cause is dry air, then one should humidify the home. Since smoke irritates the throat, stop smoking and avoid all fumes from chemicals, paints and volatile liquids.
Rest your voice if you have been screaming or singing. If you have pharyngitis, avoid infecting others by covering your mouth when coughing and wear a mask.
Rapid progression from initial symptoms to respiratory failure is a key feature. An x-ray that shows ARDS is necessary for diagnosis (fluid in the small air sacs (alveoli) in both lungs). In addition, a biopsy of the lung that shows organizing diffuse alveolar damage is required for diagnosis. Other diagnostic tests are useful in excluding other similar conditions, but history, x-ray, and biopsy are essential. These other tests may include basic blood work, blood cultures, and bronchoalveolar lavage.
The clinical picture is similar to ARDS, but AIP differs from ARDS in that the cause for AIP is not known.